Friday, June 29, 2012

Simplifying Our Lives/Home: Paper Clutter

"'s only your fault if you don't hate yourself enough to do something about it!"

One of the things I am most looking forward to about homeschool this fall will be the absence of paper being sent home with Bear from school every day. HOLY MACKEREL, they send home a lot of paper.

When I was able to corral it, it wasn't too bad because I'd just stick most of it in our recycling box and take it right back to her school to their recycling dumpster. But while the idea of going through backpacks as soon as children enter the house is lovely in theory, let's be real. It rarely happens. There is other shit going on and checking to see if she spelled "smile" correctly on her spelling test doesn't always come high on the priority list. Especially since I know she can spell "smile" and I don't really care if she got it right or wrong on an arbitrary exam.

I digress.

Anyway, because of school, the mail, stOOpid flyers that people stick on my mailbox and door, crap Husband brings home from work, etc., etc., we always have a shitton of paper clutter. And it gets stuck everywhere. Tables, counters, the stairs, the floor, the top of the dog crate, the couch, on the refrigerator...everywhere.

Now that one major source of paper clutter is being eliminated, I'm focusing on bringing the rest a bit more under control. Here are some of the things I've been doing:

1.) Dealing with mail as soon as it comes in the house. I know that everyone has read this tip, but that's because it's logical and it really works. I bring the mail in and stand at the counter sorting it. Husband's mail goes into his personal drawer, Bear's mail is handed to her, my mail is set aside to open when I'm finished, and any and all junk mail/catalogs/non-identity theft friendly mail gets dropped in the recycling. Bills are entered into the budget spreadsheet and set in their place on the desk. Anything that could compromise our identities and does not need to be kept or filed goes in the shredder.

Well, okay. The shred pile. I'm not perfect. But I do try to run the shredder at least once a...month. Give or take.

2.) Canceling subscriptions. I will enjoy the lack of clutter more than I will miss my magazines. Enough said.

3.) Using less paper. I'm a girl who likes her notebooks. I love making lists, and making sub-lists on my lists. I will not stop doing this. But my new plan is to keep one notebook for corraling all my notes. I love notebooks with sections (these are my favorite) so I can keep things a bit more organized. I can have one section for random notes or thoughts I jot down (blog ideas, things I want to look up, etc.), a section for things like grocery and to-do lists, and other sections for...whatever. This is far more efficient than the various mini-legal pads I have laying around, full of disorganized notes and lists and ideas.

I'm also going to stop printing off weekly chore charts for Bear and instead create a more permanent (but changeable) chart from an old cookie sheet and some chalkboard paint. I haven't done it yet, but it's on one of my lists...somewhere.

How do you control the paper chaos in your home?

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